If you are arrested, you may spend at least one night or so behind bars before you arrange to be bailed out. Usually, that is enough for most people to know how much they want to avoid being jailed in the future. Jails are already very crowded; they are pretty expensive to run, too. What that means is that you may encounter a number of options in the court system that allow you to avoid jail. Some of them may even allow you to avoid having a conviction or a record. To find out more, read on.
Community Service Work
Volunteering is one thing but you can also be volunteered as part of a punishment. Soup kitchens, roadside trash collecting, working in charity thrift shops – all of those and more can be ordered as an alternative to fines and incarceration. This type of work is often timed around school and job schedules. This sort of punishment has been known to create healthy volunteering habits that last longer than the sentence.
Particularly for drug-related and DUI crimes, part of the punishment could include treatment for addiction. Not all offenders want or need help; however, those charged with certain types of crimes could benefit from the court-ordered AA (Alcoholic Anonymous), mental health counseling, random biological testing for substances, and more. Most judges recognize that nearly no one recovers from addictions while in jail.
Although drug courts do cross over into treatment and community service areas, they are unique in several ways. The primary benefit of completing a drug court program is that there is the chance to have your charges dropped and walk away with no permanent record of your arrest. Some special court programs go beyond addressing drug crimes and deal with domestic violence and other life issues that may be tied to the drug crime. Targeted populations include young offenders, homeless people, single moms, etc. These programs provide mentoring, counseling, jobs, and more.
Time to Make Improvements
Suspended sentencing allows an offender a second chance at avoiding a conviction. The way they are presented varies, but they usually involve taking certain actions for a specific period of time. For example, an offender might be promised their charges will be dropped if they pay the fines, stay out of trouble, and show up for meetings with a court official, for six months.
Don't take it for granted that any of the above options will automatically be made available for you. Most criminal attorneys know about jail alternatives and how to get you such an offer. Speak to a lawyer to find out more.